Prep 2 hrs
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
This makes a BIG pot! It is very thick and concentrated. We always freeze in half quart containers and thin with broth or water. Leave out anything your family doesn't like, cut the recipe in half or quartered (soup is very forgiving)- I call this my fridge cleaner soup. Just about anything goes in minestrone. Try your family's faves- spinach goes well. Broccoli or cauliflower gets overdone and mushy as do pasta or rice so never add these. If you like pasta in your soup cook a handful while thawing out the base. All this is eyeballed- if it looks like it needs more of something just toss it in the pot. Leave out the meats if you'd prefer vegetarian or to cut down on fat. We live on this stuff throughout the winter months. I keep a container in the freezer and add bits of Parmesan ends or any strong flavoured cheese to toss in the pot (fish out later).
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 4 slices smoked bacon
- 2 chorizo sausages
- 2 sweet white onions, diced
- 2 -4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 cups beef broth
- 4 carrots, sliced
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small rutabaga, peeled and cubed in 1-inch pieces
- 6 cups savoy cabbage, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup frozen Italian cut green beans
- 1 green zucchini, chopped
- 1 yellow zucchini, chopped
- 2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained
- 2 (15 ounce) cans small white beans or 2 (15 ounce) cans great northern beans
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced (or 1 tablespoon dried)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt (optional)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1 -2 bay leaf
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese (and more for topping the soup bowls)
- Sauté bacon, ground beef, & sausage (remove from casing and break up) in large deep fry pan.
- Add onion when the meat starst to brown.
- Continue cooking until onion softens then add garlic and stir for 2 minutes to take the raw edge off.
- While meat is browning, get out your biggest pot and start adding the tomatoes, carrots, rutabaga, broth, celery, spices.
- Bring to a boil, add browned meat. Simmer for 10 minutes then add everything else, pushing down the cabbage. Add a bit of water to make sure the cabbage is covered.
- One year I was trying to hurry this along and cooked the cabbage in another pot then mixed it inches Worked okay.
- It will look like too much but the cabbage shrinks a lot! Simmer until all veggies are almost soft. Add your drained beans and the cheese. Stir, taste and add more of what you feel it needs.
- If your soup pot looks ridiculously thick add some water but not too much. The point of this soup is to freeze thick and dilute later.
- This is why I add water (or broth) when it is thawed out. Takes less space in the freezer this way.
- Add half a cup of fresh Parmesan to the soup while cooking for a 'wow' flavour boost. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cool and transfer to containers.
- It does need to sit overnight to taste the best. If cold enough the pot can sit out on the deck.
- This makes a very thick soup. We freeze it in yogurt containers.
- If you want noodles, cook a handful then add to the soup before serving. This is wonderful with garlic bread and lots of Parmesan cheese!.
- I call this my 'Campbell's condensed' version of minestrone. I figured why add all the extra water (taking up freezer space) when I can do that later.
- I don't add salt to this soup because the bacon, cheese and tinned products have enough of the stuff.